Being an Equal Opportunity Employer means ensuring that the organization follows Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines set forth by the federal government and enforced by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). Essentially, organizations need to align their hiring and employment practices with specific regulations and tenants, ensuring that they aren’t discriminatory, that any employment decisions are unbiased, and that workplace conditions are fair.
By understanding what’s required for EEO, it’s easier for companies to ensure that their practices align with applicable laws.
Here’s everything you need to know about EEO.
What Are the EEO Requirements?
Generally, EEO regulations bar specific discriminatory behavior both during the hiring process and after an employee has accepted a job with your organization. Federal laws make it illegal to make employment-related decisions based on several factors, including race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, age (for those 40 and older), disability, and genetic information.
EEO laws apply to any organization with a minimum of 15 employees, aside from Equal Pay Act (EPA) requirements which apply to all companies. It’s also critical to note that other agencies may have rules above and beyond what’s required by EEO regulations, such as mandates by state governing bodies.
Any EEO regulations apply in a wide array of situations. Companies must follow the rules when hiring, promoting, or terminating workers. Similarly, discriminatory behavior isn’t permitted when deciding who receives training, pay rates, or access to benefits.
What Isn’t Barred Under EEO Laws?
First, it’s critical to note that small businesses with fewer than 15 employees aren’t subject to EEO rules unless state regulations apply stricter requirements than the federal laws. As a result, they can use factors that are classically considered discriminatory when making hiring or employment decisions. However, the EPA rules do apply regardless of a company’s size.
Additionally, age-based discrimination protections only apply to candidates or employees who are at least 40 years old unless state laws also cover younger workers. The federal rules are designed to prevent companies from penalizing older workers who may have higher pay rates due to longer employment with an organization or who companies may fear won’t remain with the organization for a significant period. Individuals younger than 40 aren’t covered by any age-related discrimination.
Why Being an Equal Opportunity Employer Matters
Being an Equal Opportunity Employer makes your business more appealing to a wider array of candidates. As a result, it’s potentially easier to recruit skilled professionals from traditionally marginalized groups, as they know they’ll be properly respected and valued.
Ensuring your culture is inclusive can lead to greater diversity. In turn, the business also gets additional advantages, like stronger employee performances, more innovation, and a positive culture.
Finally, EEO regulations are federal requirements. Failing to adhere to them means your company is breaking the law. When that’s discovered, the penalties levied by the EEOC are potentially severe. As a result, following the rules is essential.
Want to Learn More? Contact the Advance Group Today
If you’re looking to hire skilled candidates and cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace by partnering with experienced recruiters, The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.